Quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, Jamaal Charles scored three touchdowns in his return from an ankle sprain, and the defense dominated as the Kansas City Chiefs blasted the New England Patriots 41-14 Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium. It was a game of total domination that left even the most optimistic Chiefs fan pleasantly flabbergasted.
And in the process, probably threw the last shovel full of dirt on the burial of the painful “Scott Pioli/New England Patriots-West Era” of Kansas City football.
Get the complete box score of the game here.
The Chiefs came out of the gate firing on all cylinders in front of a crazy, sell-out crowd that was half-celebrating the return of Monday Night Football to Arrowhead Stadium, and half-celebrating the Kansas City Royals return to the playoffs after a 29-year absence.
It didn’t hurt that about 45 minutes before kickoff the crowd got a glimpse of the current darlings of the city, Royals players Jarrod Dyson, Eric Hosmer, James Shields, Billy Butler, Jeremy Guthrie, Greg Holland and Mike Moustakas as they walked on the field saying hello to some of the Chiefs players and waving to the crowd. Every time a Royals player’s grinning mug was shown on the scoreboard, the crowd roared.
However, the crowd was never better than in the second quarter when they took back the title of loudest crowd at an outdoor stadium from the Seattle fans, registering a new record level of 142.2 decibels as determined by the Guinness Book of Records.
“My ears are still ringing,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said with a smile after the game.
The noise may not have affected the Patriots offense as much as it completely energized the Chiefs defense who harassed future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady all night long. Brady, who has had some of the best games of his career on Monday nights, completed only 14-of-23 passes for a mere 159 yards and 1 touchdown. Statistically, it was one of the worst performances of the legendary quarterback’s career.
More importantly, the defense forced Brady to fumble twice (losing one) and toss two interceptions. The second interception in the fourth quarter was picked off by Chiefs safety Hussain Abdullah and returned 39 yards for the Chiefs final touchdown of the night. After that play, Brady took a seat on the bench and was replaced by rookie Jimmy Garappolo.
However, the most impressive part of the night was the nearly-flawless performance by the Chiefs offense in the first half. Behind the best play-calling of Reid’s short career as the coach in Kansas City, Alex Smith was nearly perfect behind an offensive line that mostly gave him time to throw the ball. (Smith was sacked once early by defensive end Chandler Jones and late in the game by tackle Joe Vellano). His only misfire was badly overthrowing a wide-open Travis Kelce at the Chiefs 40-yard line that would have led to a huge gain during the first offensive series of the game. The Chiefs had to punt two plays later.
But then the Chiefs got the running game untracked by liberally alternating Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis in a way that completely confused the Patriots defense. Several times the Chiefs formations caused the defense to pause momentarily, which got them out of position to make plays. Davis rushed the ball 16 times for 107 yards while Charles showed no effects of his ankle sprain in Week 2 by churning out 92 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Charles added two more receiving touchdowns on his three catches for 16 yards.
Even Dwayne Bowe got into the act in the first half, catching 5 balls for 81 yards and came within 18 inches of scoring a touchdown as time ran out in the first half with the Chiefs leading 14-0. Luckily, a defensive penalty on New England gave the Chiefs another play from the 1-1/2 yard line and rookie Cairo Santos booted a field goal to put the Chiefs up 17-0. Tight end Kelce continued his rise to prominence, leading the Chiefs in catches (8) and yards (93) and scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game.
At halftime, it was the first time the Patriots had been shut out in the first half during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Era, and the 303 total yards the offense had put up on New England was the most ever given up by a Belichick-coached defense.
The second half for the offense became a game of keep-away as they used the powerful run game and Kelce to keep the chains moving. The defense, on the other hand, turned it up a notch and got their first three turnovers of the season, a sack/fumble recovery by Tamba Hali and two interceptions, one by Steve Smith and the pick-six by Abdullah.
The Patriots took advantage of some sloppy play by the defense in the second half and scored two touchdowns on passes to Brandon LeFell and Rob Gronkowski, but they were much too little, much too late on an evening where the Chiefs did whatever they wanted in all phases of the game.
Both teams are 2-2, but anyone watching the game Monday night would say the Chiefs are a legitimate playoff contender that has found its rhythm after a rough start, while the Patriots are a team that may be at the end of the line of a glorious run with its Hall-of-Fame combo of coach and quarterback.
And for Chiefs fans, maybe this game is the tonic that will finally wash away the stink of the four years when former Patriots executive Scott Pioli took over the team as general manager and tried to establish “The Patriot Way” at One Arrowhead Drive?
The Chiefs are now 2-1 to start their brutal five-game stretch that many people believed would determine whether or not they returned to the playoffs in 2014. A two-point loss in Denver has been followed by two utterly convincing and crushing wins over Miami and now New England. They make a two-game West Coast swing to San Francisco (10-5) and San Diego (10/19) sandwiched around their bye in Week 6.
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